Direct action taken by campaigners
Demonstrators gathered in Edinburgh at High Riggs Jobcentre yesterday (27 September) to demand the re-instatement of the £20 cut to Universal Credit.
The protest was called by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (Ecap) in response to a call from Disabled People Against Cuts for UK-wide protests.
Protesters included disabled people, pensioners, workers and a group of school students.
Police attended but did not intervene.
The demonstrators denounced the UK government cut, due to be implemented from the end of this month.
Protestors held placards with the hashtag #20MoreForAll, demanding the £20 increase be extended to “legacy benefits” like Job Seekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.
Ethel MacDonald of Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty said: “The brutal cut in Universal Credit is yet another example of governments attacking the poor to benefit the rich. This is also an attack on wages and conditions, aiming to force people to accept insecure low paid jobs.
"Many on Universal Credit are of course already in such badly paid work, since 39% of Universal Credit claimants are in employment.”
The ECAP spokesperson urged people to organise: “We need to organise at the grass-roots to resist the cut to Universal Credit, the entire austerity agenda, and the whole profit-based system. Claimants need to join together and support each other – for example by accompanying each other to appointments and assessments.
She added: “After today’s protest, the struggle against the cut continues. What’s more, we are opposing the DWP’s reckless return to compulsory jobcentre appointments – this endangers both claimants and jobcentre workers, due to the continuing covid threat.
“We totally oppose all sanctions, and urge claimants to contact us for solidarity.”
Campaigners have raised alarm at the hardship which a £20 cut will cause to the six million Universal Credit claimants, who include the low paid, unemployed, families and sick and disabled people.
Research by the Child Poverty Action Group reveals that over the last decade nearly 100 cuts have been made to social security entitlement and the value of payments has fallen as social security rates have been either frozen or increased by less than inflation.
Even with the £20 increase a typical Universal Credit claimant would be hundreds of pounds worse off in 2021 than in 2010.